These days if you write stadium-sized anthemic guitar music you will most likely be ridiculed in the UK, none more enthusiastically than by music bloggers. Shelve your sound under the term ‘indie rock’ and the knives will be out before you even begin, as the key-holders to cool, from the established music publications, to the specialist radio shows, to the taste-maker bloggers, will be attacking your every-man appeal. It seems that by writing timeless tunes you will immediately block any chance of your band being attached to any contemporary movement, or underground scene, as your songs transcend any sense of being fresh or challenging, and it definitely cannot be seen to play any part of music’s future. Your biggest market will be housewives and Radio 2 will play-list you as soon as Radio One do. By over-stretching your aims you will be jumping right over the slower, more gradual process that sees bands being considered cool before becoming big. However, in a world of lightening fast attentions and the kind of buzz blogging that kills music before it sees the light of the mass market, it will actually prove rather interesting to see if The Chevin will be able to hop, skip and jump right over the usual taste-maker pitfalls and into the wider conscience.
The Breaking More Waves music blog stirred up this point, when they mentioned in their own balanced coverage of The Chevin, that they are “possibly one of the most deeply unfashionable bands around“. This quartet from Leeds released an EP last year and are now all set to break through in 2012, as they gear up for the eventual launch of their debut album, Borderlands, which is due out in September 3rd on So Recordings. When we say ‘break through’ we of course mean in the Queen sense, as this is a band that are more likely to be tipped by Q Magazine than NME, or appear on David Letterman (something they’ve already scheduled for this August) than on the post-midnight music shows we see on Channel Four. Useful support slots to the likes of Franz Ferdinand have already built a fan base in Europe and their sound is so perfectly suited to America that they’ve already relocated to New York.
Comparisons to U2 and Muse have bounced around, which is entirely fair enough when you consider that their tune, Menwith Hill, sounds like the former covering the latter. It surely doesn’t get any more stadium than those two bands, but alas more comparisons to other headliners continue with the opening track on their EP, Champion, coming across like a missing anthem from The Killers and another track, Blue Eyes, delivering the gritty romance that Bruce Springsteen fills arenas with. Of course we’ve seen all these grand aims fall short of world-domination, with the likes of The Bravery and White Lies, among many other pretenders, but we have to state that The Chevin seem to absolutely nail it. Singer, Coyle Girelli, has a confidence and style that will have you double-checking his British passport and lead guitarist Mat Steel is heard wonderfully backing him up with the kind of soaring guitar work that can only be applied with real talent. They have hits galore and to suggest they’re radio-friendly is like stating the presidential candidate is baby-friendly – nothing will keep the two things apart.
The bloggerati claim taste-maker status, having crow-barred a new underground layer underneath the one that the NME once inhabited. Music bloggers are often accused of killing off new music before it gets going, but The Recommender tries to fight that image, claiming that blogs are more innocent and altruistic than that, but there’s no doubting that The Chevin do not fit the usual criteria that us bloggers are looking for. However, by writing music without any sense of trying to be cool, The Chevin remind us of how music used to be before the Internet sped the whole process up. This isn’t so much a test of whether the band are good enough, but whether every band actually needs the initial buzz from the blogs in order to make it. By creating a brand of music that is neither hip nor contemporary, they found a formula that bypasses the underground minefield and it won’t affect their chances one jot. Instead these guys will hurdle the usual routes to the market and will surely sell stacks of records to people who have never read a music blog in their lives. If music is a business, then this is a band with genuine commercial appeal. When they’re headlining festival’s main stages they’ll seem to be operating in a hipster-less world as the underground and overground exist like oil and water. They may well be unfashionable, but not all music is trying that hard. If making a career as a band in today’s flailing music industry is considered an almost impossible task, then a lot of bands should look upon The Chevin with jealous eyes, as they effortlessly leap into tomorrow’s stadiums. (MB)
THE CHEVIN – DRIVE
THE CHEVIN – WHEN THE PARTIES OVER